Distinguished Teachers’ Award for “Maths Activist”
‘Teaching is a calling. For me, it’s my passion. Receiving the Distinguished Teachers’ Award confirms for me that I am on the right track with my teaching methods and that UKZN appreciates and values my contribution to Teaching and Learning.’ These are the words of Dr Msizi Mkhize, a lecturer in Accounting at UKZN’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, who holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Commerce degrees.
Mkhize is the author of the Accounting study guide: Grade 12 Accounting: Mathematical Calculations Made Simple, who has developed a maths presentation which encourages learners to talk maths, love maths and see it as an interesting subject.
‘Our maths teacher used to teach one specific method of solving problems but I used my spare time to discover alternate methods,’ said Mkhize. ‘The class would use my methods because they were simple, straight forward and explained solutions in a step-by-step process. I studied ahead so whenever the teacher introduced a topic, I already knew it,’ he said.
In high school, Mkhize used his spare time to assist fellow learners who struggled with the subject. ‘My peers were continuously praising my teaching skills. I realised I had teaching talent so after matric. I joined Indumiso College of Education, now (DUT – Indumiso campus), where I was professionally trained to be a Mathematics and Accounting teacher.’
Mkhize started his teaching career in 1991 at Menzi High School where he introduced commercial subjects and helped learners get distinctions and a 100% pass rate in Grade 12 Accounting annually. ‘I came up with a turnaround strategy for the school and it is now one of the best high schools in the country.’
In his lectures, Mkhize uses what he calls the five Cs: Curiosity, Concentration, Communication, Creativity and Choice. ‘I want my students to have the confidence to tackle unfamiliar mathematical problems in accounting creatively and have fun doing it.’
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photograph: Rogan Ward